Excuse me, may I smell your MHCs?


Check out this interesting concept. You already know that the MHC I receptor is present on (pretty much) every cell in the body and presents antigen to cytotoxic T cells, and that the MHC II receptor is present only on specialized antigen-presenting cells and presents antigen to helper T cells. Right.

But did you know that these same receptors may be helping a woman decide on a mate? It seems that women prefer mates with MHCs very different from their own. That seems like a good idea – it helps provide diversity within the genome.

It would be hard to get a sample from every guy and bring it to the HLA-typing lab, but no need: the brain can detect MHC differences by smell (they’re associated with pheromones)! Weird. And cool.

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